In writing a personal essay as in a “this I believe” essay, you have to be credential and have a good topic. Gornick says the writer “undergoes an apprenticeship as soul-searching…the twin struggle to know not only why one is speaking but who is speaking” (171). Since you are using your voice, you have to find out who you are and how you are going to represent yourself through writing. Sanders states “you had better speak from a region pretty close to the heart, or the reader will detect the wind of phoniness whistling through your hollow phrases” (130). Therefore, staying true to yourself is very important when writing. The purpose of the essay has to be meaningful for the reader as well. Sanders brings up a great metaphor of an essay and a river; “The surface of a river is alive with lights and reflections, the breaking of foam over rocks, but beneath that dazzle it is going somewhere. We should expect as much from an essay: the shimmer and play of mind on the surface and in the depth a strong current” (131). There may be a lot of details to an essay, but in the end, they all connect to the main point.
As I was reading the this I believe essays, I was trying to get a sense of the writer’s character and purpose of the essay. The purpose was easy to find since the author said it in this I believe. I got a sense of who they are in their examples of backing up their belief. While reading “Always Go to the Funeral” by Deirdre Sullivan, I felt like I connected to her because I could relate. My mother always told me to go to funerals as well. Sometimes I really don’t want to go through that experience but I did it to give my condolences. I always felt like I was more experienced with wakes and funerals than my friends because I’ve gone to quite a few now. My friend lost her father to cancer and when she saw me at his wake, she was so happy that I came to support her. Sullivan wrote about a similar experience with the mother of her teacher. However, when you are the one in the receiving line, everything changes. You now know how much of an impact the presence of people can actually be. I love how Sullivan ended with that in her essay. It gave me chills. http://thisibelieve.org/essay/8/
Another essay I really liked was “Finding Acceptance in Macaroni and Cheese” by Lauren. I could also relate to her because her family does not approve of her eating habits which includes not eating meat and vegetables. I’ve been a vegetarian for about eight months now and my family does not approve at all. They don’t support me and my eating habits. They still make dinner with meat and I eat my own food as Lauren would eat her mac and cheese. One time, I was at my grandmother’s house and she made beef stew for dinner. I couldn’t not eat her food because she would be insulted. I ended up eating it and taking the beef out but I couldn’t avoid the broth. I sacrificed my vegetarianism for my grandmother. I did this out of love for her and not wanting to upset her. http://thisibelieve.org/essay/44777/
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